HOW MANY MILES TO BABYLON by Doris Gercke

HOW MANY MILES TO BABYLON

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Hamburg detective Bella Block, old-pro heroine of five previous novels, makes her English-language debut in this austere fable. Here, Bella tries to mix business with pleasure by agreeing to check out an anonymous tip that two suicides in the sleepy village of Roosbach were actually murders--while spending the time at her summer house there thumbing her nose at her condescending male colleagues. We already know--and it doesn't take Bella long to see--that the deaths are indeed murders, acts of vengeance for a peculiarly horrible rape; and as Bella plots to protect the owner of Roosbach's one and only tavern from the same revenge, she begins to wonder whether she really wants to go on siding with male institutions--the tavern, the police, the law--against the victim-turned-killer. In Hamilton's fluent translation, Gercke reads like a feminist DÃœrrenmatt--without his fondness for surprises, but with the same talent for revealing the skeleton beneath the detective-story skin.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1991
Page count: 102pp
Publisher: "Women in Translation (3131 Western Ave., Seattle, WA 98121)"